Contact: Julie Jackson (703) 379-2480
August 10, 2001

New Booklet Highlights Karst Country

ALEXANDRIA,VA — Although the word “karst” rarely appears in the news, it is a term that citizens, land-use planners, and policy makers need to know. Why?  Because karst landscapes – regions characterized by sinkholes, caves, springs, underground rivers, and slowly dissolving bedrock – constitute about 25% of the world’s land surface.  A new, award-winning publication, Living with Karst, A Fragile Foundation, vividly illustrates what karst is and why these resource-rich, environmentally vulnerable areas are important. The 64-page booklet is filled with brilliant color photos and easy-to-understand illustrations. It identifies the resources and uses of karst areas from prehistoric to modern times; outlines the problems that can occur in karst areas and their causes; provides guidelines and solutions for preventing or alleviating problems; and lists sources of additional information. Each booklet also contains an 18" x 24" poster, which features an activity designed to help students understand and compare processes that affect water resources in karst and non-karst areas. Living with Karst received an “outstanding publication” award at the 13th International Congress of Speleology held in July in Brasilia, Brazil.

    The authors, George Veni, Harvey DuChene, Nicholas C. Crawford, Christopher G. Groves, George N. Huppert, Ernst H. Kastning, Rick Olson, and Betty J. Wheeler, are experts in karst-related issues, and they offer practical guidance for living in karst areas. As they write in the Preface, “Sound management of karst areas requires the conscientious participation of citizens including homeowners, planners, government officials, developers, farmers, ranchers, and other land-use decision makers.”

    The American Geological Institute (AGI) produced Living with Karst in cooperation with the National Speleological Society, American Cave Conservation Association, Illinois Basin Consortium, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. It is the fourth publication in AGI’s Environmental Awareness Series (EAS), which strives to promote better understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in all aspects of environmental concerns and issues. AGI’s Environmental Geoscience Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Philip E. LaMoreaux and Dr. Stephen H. Stow, assists the Institute by identifying projects and activities within this realm, including the EAS. For additional information on AGI’s environmental geoscience program, contact Travis L. Hudson, AGI Director of Environmental Affairs, by e-mail,, or by phone, (360) 681-5107.

    Copies of Living with Karst, A Fragile Foundation (ISBN: 0-922152-58-6) are available from AGI at a list price of $15.95. Members of AGI member societies receive a discounted price of $9.97. Orders may be placed through the AGI Publications Center at, or by mail, telephone, fax, or e-mail (American Geological Institute, Attention: Publications Center, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA  22302, Tel: (703) 379-2480, Fax: (703) 379-7563, E-mail: Please add an additional $7.00 for postage and handling costs in the contiguous U.S. All orders must be prepaid. Please make your check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds payable to the American Geological Institute. AGI also accepts VISA and MasterCard. Orders are shipped by UPS Standard Service, whenever possible. For additional information, bulk order pricing, or costs for overseas shipping, contact the AGI Publications Department.

    The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 37 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,

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